Health and Family Services Cabinet
DPH Urges Kentuckians to Use Caution During Extreme Heat
With temperatures hovering into the 90s across the commonwealth, the Department for Public Health advises Kentuckians to be mindful of the dangers sweltering heat can bring.
“It’s important to follow some standard safety guidelines when temperatures begin increasing to the levels we are experiencing now,” said William Hacker, M.D, acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “Though we tend to associate summer with sports, activity and spending time outdoors, there are some dangers we need to be aware of once the thermometer starts to rise.”
The current heat wave calls for temperatures of 90 degrees or more, along with ozone levels that can be hazardous to citizens. Most at risk are young children, the elderly and people with health problems such as asthma - all of whom are susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
By taking the following precautions, citizens can remain safe and comfortable during the hot days of summer.
· Drink plenty of fluid. Increase your normal fluid intake regardless of your activity level. You will need to drink more fluids than your thirst level indicates. This is especially true for people 65 years of age and older who often have a decreased ability to respond to external temperature changes. In addition, avoid drinking beverages containing alcohol, because they will actually cause you to lose more fluid.
· Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. Choose lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing. In the hot sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat that will provide shade and keep the head cool. Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or greater and applied 30 minutes before going out into the sun.
· Stay cool indoors. The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have an air conditioner, consider visiting a mall or public library.
· Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be out in the heat, try to plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. Rest periodically so your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover.
· Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.
· Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
· Infants and children up to 4 years of age
· People 65 years of age or older
· People who are overweight
· People who overexert during work or exercise
· People who are ill or on certain medications for blood pressure or diuretics
“It’s also just as important to remember to use common sense,” added Hacker. “Do not leave infants, children or pets in a parked car. Also, don’t forget to give your pet plenty of fresh water and provide shade and a place to get cool.”